The history of Manitou Springs is forever linked to its cold drinking springs. Members of the Ute, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Kiowa nations treated Manitou as neutral ground where all could find relief for their physical ailments without fear of attack. Today, several of the original springs that have been restored for public consumption are named in honor of Manitou's first settlers. The waters are available free to the public. Walking tours are held every summer and maps are available throughout the year for those who prefer to tour the springs at their own pace. Manitou Springs is on the National Register of Historic Districts.
Many historic commercial buildings and the homes surrounding them have been restored. A thriving arts community continues to grow and prosper. There are more than a dozen galleries and studios in downtown, many run by the artists themselves. In addition to the galleries, the downtown area is packed with dozens of specialty shops, gift shops, clothing boutiques, and antique stores. Everyone is sure to find the "one of a kind" item that will always remind them of a memorable adventure in Manitou Springs. While Manitou Springs may be small in size, it is big in dining. Whether you're craving pizza or pancakes, a light snack or an elegant gourmet dinner, Manitou has a dining experience for every taste. From Artistic to Zany, Manitou Springs offers a wealth of special events. Historic speaker series, arts festivals, wine tasting, coffin racing, and fruitcake tossing are just a few of the events that are offered throughout the year. Young and the young at heart will find many activities to bring them back time and time again to Historic Manitou Springs. Whether its drinking from the springs, hiking, exploring, shopping, dining or just having fun, the options are endless in Manitou Springs.